Claressa Shields told Savannah Marshall to “shut up” when the Brit goaded her after opening up a cut above her eye during their fight.
Shields, 27, became an undisputed middleweight champion by outpointing Marshall after an action-packed 10 rounds at The O2 arena in London. The pace of their grudge fight never slowed down, with two-time Olympic gold medalist Shields being the better woman on the night as she got the nod by scores of 96-94, 97-93, 97-93. The win meant Shields levelled the scores with Marshall having lost to the Brit on the amateur circuit a decade ago.
At the midway point of the fight, Shields was cut above her left eye and Marshall wasted no time in goading her about it. Shields said Marshall made her aware she was cut, only for her to tell the Brit to “shut up” before firing back with a hard right hand. It’s unclear if Shields’ cut came from a clash of heads or a punch from Marshall.
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“I just knew I had her because she started talking in there,” Shields said. “When she cut me with the little cut I’ve got, she said ‘ooh Claressa you’re cut’ and I said ‘shut up’ then hit her with a right hand. I let her know like ‘cut me again’ and that this was a dog fight. Fight me on the inside or outside, it didn’t matter. I knew I was up from rounds one to five, so the only way she was going to win was if she won the last five rounds. To me she probably only won two rounds, maybe round six and nine.”
Marshall was out-landed by Shields in seven of the 10 rounds, with most of the Brit's best work coming in the final two rounds. Shields admitted that she played the ropes too much in the sixth round after absorbing a big punch from Marshall that caused swelling under her right eye, with the American adding that she had problems seeing out of it for the remainder of the round.
Shields believes the win cements her status as the greatest female boxer ever, adding: "Tonight was my third undisputed fight, but this ranks above all of my precious ones. This definitely solidifies my status as the greatest woman of all time. I fought against someone who I have a lot of history with, we were at the World Championships and the Olympics together. She’s had a great professional career and I had a great amateur career after losing to her.”